A dad who lost his son to suicide has insisted more must be done to help those in crisis.
Phil Welsh, whose son Lee took his own life, has been campaigning for a 24/7 refuge centre for the past two years.
But as of yet, there is still no facility in place in Dundee – something Phil insists can’t go on.
People are suffering from mental health issues across the city on a daily basis, with Police Scotland stats revealing the force has dealt with dozens of incidents where people have contemplated taking their own life in the past three months.
There have been 60 incidents on the Tay Road Bridge alone over that period and Phil said more must be done to help those in need.
He said: “It’s very concerning that so many people get so desperate they find themselves contemplating suicide.
“We should be providing somewhere for people to turn to when they feel suicidal, so they don’t end up in that situation.
“Something needs to change so people having a mental health crisis can have immediate access to support.”
According to Superintendent Graeme Murdoch, based in Dundee, there are still too many people who think taking their own life is their only option.
When an incident is called in at the Tay Road Bridge, a full emergency operation is launched with police, the ambulance service, the Broughty Ferry lifeboats and the coastguard all called upon to assist.
He said: “The numbers are too high.
“In my opinion if one person goes to the bridge when they are desperate and feeling suicidal that is too high.
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“Half of the 60 calls led to some form of police intervention because they were giving serious cause for concern. Nine of those people were on the wrong side of the barrier and three had to be rescued from the water.”
Supt Murdoch said that the police were usually the frontline when dealing with someone in this level of crisis.
To give the police negotiators the space and peace to talk to the person in difficulty they are often forced to close the bridge.
But Supt Murdoch shared the harsh reality of the issues dealt with by police dealing with the incidents – with some heckling police as well as those in need during tailbacks.
He said: “We have officers trained for this and they find themselves negotiating with the person in difficulty.
“Our priority is to save a life and if that means the bridge is closed then it will be.
“Officers often can’t approach the person too closely and with the traffic noise added to the weather on the bridge it can just be too noisy.
“Sadly and unbelievably we have also had instances of passers-by shouting to the person just to jump.”
Dundee mental health nurse Ashley Bonini, who is also behind the Let’s Talk Tayside group, has backed calls for more to be done to help those who are at their lowest point.
She said: “We should be picking up on early signs and using interventions such as anxiety and depression management.
“Exercise and music therapy could be used more.
“Not every one needs medication for mental health.
“First of all we should be trying to use our own skills to de-escalate these feeling or thoughts, or having a nurse or support worker going through different coping strategies and promoting person-centred empowerment to give people hope.”
Five years on and no closer to diagnosis
Leanne, 37, from Menzieshill contemplated taking her own life but, through support from services and those around her, she managed to come out the other side.
At her lowest, it proved to be a conversation with a colleague which was the intervention she needed.
But Leanne, a civil servant, has admitted to being no further forward in getting the help she needs to get better.
She said: “I have been going back and forward to the doctor and to mental health centres in Dundee for the past five years.
“I’m still no nearer to having an official diagnosis of my condition.
“Four different professionals have given my possible condition from being bipolar to having ADHD or a borderline personality disorder.
“However, two weeks ago I left the doctor no further forward and I was definitely having suicidal thoughts.
“I felt suicidal, however I ended up speaking to my boss who was fantastic.
“If he hadn’t been there for me I could well have ended up on the bridge in a desperate bid to try to get the help I know I need.”
An NHS spokeswoman said: “Each suicide is a tragedy and the impact on those left behind lasts a lifetime.
“Anyone can become suicidal; the reasons can be different and very complex and it is not always due to mental illness.
“If people are feeling suicidal, the best thing to do is talk and tell someone how they are feeling. Speak to someone you can trust or call a helpline.
“If you’re worried that someone else is suicidal, ask them – asking someone directly about their feelings can help them.”
You can also call the Samartians on 116 123.